Sajjan’s Fall From Grace

This morning I woke up to a video of the Canadian defense minister Mr. Harjit Sajjan. At first, it’s unclear what is going on in the video. Through bleary, half shut eyes I tried to make out what was going on in the video. I thought, oh dear, was he caught engaging in some promiscuous act? My heart sank, thinking, what has this man done to be caught on social media – what is this act that will cause him to fall from grace? Then I saw him flicking something out the window, “okay” I thought to myself – is he smoking? That would most definitely be something a lot of people would get “up in arms” about considering he is a “Sikh” man – because all Sikhs are otherwise oh so commendable.

And then I suddenly burst out laughing, when I realized that the horrendous act the individual recording the video felt he needed to whip out his cell phone and launch a verbal attack on the minister for was ….

Eating cherries. The minister was sitting in some suburban area of Osoyoos, BC, enjoying some fresh British Columbian cherries – and flicking the pits out the window.

Okay, I get it – it’s a act of blatant disregard for whoever’s property they were landing upon, and it just didn’t look all that professional. But for heck’s sakes – I can’t help but wonder why we as a community get our sh*ts and g*ggles from watching others in vulnerable positions.

The man making the video is pretty much high off this discovery as he excitedly and aggressively attacks the minister. Ever take a walk down 128 street in Surrey, BC – you know what you’re going to see? You’ll see individuals spitting, picking their noses, belching, sometimes inebriated, sometimes arguing with one another – and generally acting in a socially unacceptable manner. Don’t believe me? Just read this article I wrote about “Surrey’s misbehaving elderly.”

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. The man wasn’t caught doing something horrendously out of character. He made the innocent mistake of disposing of fruit in a way I am 100% certain all apnay have done at some point in time, justifying doing so by saying it’s biodegradable. And yes – he’s a minister, so he has to behave with a certain air of professionalism. But while he’s in his car? By himself? I suppose he didn’t think so many Indians were out to get him. Just desperately waiting for a slip up in order to “oust” him as this hypocritical monster.

Look at the big picture – you finally have a representation of your culture and heritage in the public eye. No, not in movies, not in television, in the Canadian parliament. So what in the world is wrong with your judgement that you want to attack the man like piranhas? Why not leave that to people of other cultures, some of whom I am sure despise seeing a man with a turban and a beard at such a high standing. But who needs to wait for them to bash the man’s reputation? We have internal internet bullies and inverse racism to do the job.

Pat yourselves on the back Indo-Canadians, you sure should be proud of your dire desire to dethrone this man from making those of us with some perspective proud.

The Lit Life | Ep. 04

Here is the latest episode for The Lit Life Podcast. If you enjoy listening to “against the grain” viewpoints and care about issues like racism, stereotypes, and hypocrisy in the Indo-Canadian culture — then have a listen!

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The Lit Life | Ep. 01

In this Episode: Learn about who Amrita Lit is, what the novel Chasing Kismet is all about, and what you’re in store for if you subscribe to this podcast! It’s time to get L I T in a whole different way people…

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Snitches Get Stitches 

There’s been a huge influx of shootings and other criminal activity in good ‘ol surrey BC over the last few years. This is a fact that is no secret, however what everyone seems to be keeping their lips sealed about is who exactly is behind the trigger. 
It seems odd in a city where pretty much everyone knows everyone but no one is owning up to having any relevant information about these cases. 
I believe the exact words an actual victim used was “it was like the bullets fell from the sky.” So if even those who are on the receiving end of these attacks aren’t speaking up, then why on earth would anyone else?
In my personal opinion I think this phenomenon of “don’t ask don’t tell” stems from the general belief that one is just not meant to cooperate with the authority. This “us” vs “them” mentality is what’s getting us and our city in some real trouble. 
Sure there’s many cases in which cops are really NOT on our side. But generally their job description is to keep the community safe and bullet free. So with our kids, elderly, and our selves in the streets right in the midst of it all – why not do all you can to put a stop on this craziness? 
I remember this one particular time I knew who was responsible for a crime. Being the social do-gooder I am I actually wanted to call it in. My husband (boyfriend at the time) asked me if I was crazy and told me to NEVER “snitch.” It was completely unfathomable to him that I would want to “throw one of my own” under the bus in such a manner. 
And while I do agree to some extent that it’s best sometimes to turn the other cheek and not stick your nose where it doesn’t belong, I also feel it’s EVERYONES responsibility to keep our city safe. The only way for that to happen is if those involved are reprimanded, and of course this can only happen if the people who know whose doing what, and I know there are so many who do – come forward and ‘fess up.
Because sooner or later it could be one of our loved ones caught in the crossfire, and at that point we would want anyone with ANY sort of information to do the right thing and come forward with it. Of course if we ourselves saw something we would cooperate with the police in a heart beat and let them know everything we know, even if it was just hearsay. 
So the next time you hear something down the grapevine, or should I say newsfeed, and you think it might be of use but you just don’t feel it effects you enough to speak up, think about what you’d want if it was YOUR kid being shot at, or your house next to the one being targeted. After all, this infamous city of ours is rather small, and it’s only a matter of time before what’s in the news might be our reality.


When I first heard I was going to be moving from my comfortable coconut life in Coquitlam to what I called “curry in a hurry-ville” (Surrey) my first thought was “Oh god, I am going to be surrounded by DIPS. And my second was “What if I become one?” As if it was something so feared and contagious. I had this odd belief that I was the only Indian girl who was westernized and everyone in Surrey was a “dip.” My judgemental teen self classified anyone who looked like they were from India as a freshie or a dipper and I thought that’s what all Surrey schools were full of.

I believed myself to be above them. I differentiated my family and myself to be superior and somehow better because we were so very acculturated. I was desperately avoiding the label because I fought so hard to not be viewed as different by my Caucasian peers. I marginalized a racial group I belonged to. And even went so far as to make fun and speak down to and about them. I guess I was a racist to my own kind.

It’s something I’m not proud of as it was so much more obvious in those years. But I’m an adult now and I still find myself saying things like “what a dip” in the most derogatory way possible. The ultimate insult. You’re a dip below societal acceptance. I suppose I just need to be more mindful of my thoughts and words even if I don’t realize I am contributing to an offensive mindset.

I’ll admit that I still do pride myself in believing my parents are westernized and forward thinking. I dress and wear my hair in a way that is very obvious that I am born here. However, I’m fairly decent at speaking in my native tongue so every now and then in my marital home guests will ask “is she from India?” But now I take this as a compliment. I think of it as a confirmation that my parents raised me well enough that someone would think I have the values and characteristics reflective of my roots. I don’t mind being associated with my culture and race anymore – in fact I am quite proud of it.

I guess that’s what comes with age. The knowledge that being labelled something isn’t always a bad thing. Because all labels represent something. Be proud of who you are and accept those around you no matter how different they may be from your view of what’s “cool.” This is the true mark of maturity. So whether you’re born and bred in Canada – or from India or anywhere else, embrace your inner dip and don’t be afraid to stand out. After all that’s what makes each of us who we are as individuals. If only we could get people of other races to stop considering anyone who wears a turban a terrorist – now that would be real progress, but we’ll save that for another post :).

Do you live in a MONSTER HOUSE?

I feel like everyone can pinpoint that one moment or conversation which sparks something in their mind which begins a change in the way they think. For me this was during my first year of university in my English 1100 class. The professor liked to begin our lessons by discussing current events or media topics. On this particular day she brought to school a newspaper on which the front cover showed a picture of a big house taken from a low angle to make it seem even bigger and rather unappealing. The heading read “Monster Houses Taking Over.” She asked us how this made us feel.

Everyone looked at one another and shrugged and said they really had no reaction at all. She asked us what the use of the word monster suggests. Being the eager beaver and keen student I was I raised my hand (though unsure what she was getting at at the time) and said well it’s meant to suggest these houses are something negative, something we should be afraid of. She responded that “I was on the right track” but she wanted more of an explanation into this insight.

She then wrote two words on the board with the standard hyphen between them as always. INDO-CANADIAN. She said what does this word look like to you? Everyone read it aloud. She said, “look at the word itself. It literally reads that you’re Indian minus Canadian. You’re not really Canadian you must be differentiated from the “REAL” Canadians – the Caucasian Canadians. You don’t see or hear the term Caucasian-Canadian a whole lot do you?”

She explained to us that in predominately Caucasian areas houses such as the one pictured in that weeks paper would typically be called “mansions” or “beautiful dream homes.” But because it is “Indo-Canadians” making these large homes they are now something negative – big monster houses, taking over the city, changing the look of things and the status quo. As if we are invaders setting up large gawdy homes in an an area that doesn’t truly belong to us.

That 5-10 minutes at the beginning of that class was it for me. That’s what opened my eyes to the underlying hints of racism and stereotyping in our everyday lives. The difference of perspective portrayed in mass media which then seeps into our minds when we least expect it. Before having it pointed out to me that it is important to not just passively receive information but critically analyze all that you come across, I was walking around with my mind turned off to such prejudices. And now that I saw it, there was no way it could be unseen, it was now everywhere.

I noticed it in the way the grocery teller said “you people” to me. I noticed it when customers at the retail outlet I worked at as a teen asked where I was REALLY from and weren’t satisfied when I kept answering “Prince George.” I noticed it at the doctors office when receptionists would speak extra slow and loud to my grandfather who understood English perfectly. The stereotypes and prejudices had me surrounded. And I felt like I was being barricaded by them.

So I started answering back. Sarcastic annoyed remarks to anyone who I felt was belittling me because of my race or being small minded towards my culture. I became overly sensitive and defensive in a lot of scenarios in which it perhaps would’ve just been easier to let it slide. But having something to be vocal about helped me come out of my shell. It helped me develop enough of a passion and to care enough to speak up and not shy away from setting people straight when need be.

But I don’t see a whole lot of that happening. So I wonder, for those individuals who just sit tentatively being the inferior minority and being okay with it – while their “monster homes” are attacked with ignorance and negatively, have they just not had that eye opening moment yet? Or perhaps it doesn’t bother them enough? Why do so few people care to correct what is wrong and fight against this shadow of oppression which follows us and is so embedded in our everyday lives. Is it so common that most of us don’t even notice it anymore?

Well, I can only hope that by writing about such things perhaps now I can be the one to switch that trigger on for someone. And let them now be unable to sit idly the next time they encounter such issues. If I can do that for at least one person – then I know I am doing right in at least some small way. Questioning and digging deeper is what I took away from my years at post-secondary. It’s what I think matters most and is the biggest lesson you get from higher education. To not be a passive recipient of information. To develop your own opinions and views and defend them when need be. Not everyone has the opportunity to learn the manner in which one can do this. But they can find something (not necessarily racial hatred) but something which matters enough to them to be on the lookout and stand up for. With these small changes in our psyche we can begin to tackle issues which are all too often swept under the rug and left for university professors to bring up to clueless introductory level students in the hopes of setting off that spark in at least a few of their minds.

My Pregnancy Journey: Lessons Learned

The reason I call pregnancy a journey is because to me that’s exactly what it is. You begin with certain beliefs and perceptions about how things will be. Then the reality of the experiences end up leaving you completely changed along the way. I have outlined the main “lessons” I believe I learned on my path to motherhood during this 9 month period of rapid growth and development for not only my child but me as well!


How very little some people know about pregnancy. 

I know it’s a shocker but guess what – engaging in a conversation with a pregnant woman does not mean regular conversation etiquette goes out the window. You don’t point out the obvious – “wow you’re huge!” You don’t sit there telling birth and labour horror stories. Even worse, do not tell a pregnant woman about instances of stillborn births and miscarriages. Trust me, there’s enough stuff floating around in their minds they don’t need this as well! Lastly, this ones more relevant near the end but incessant pestering about the due date is truly not necessary. A pregnant woman most likely already feels like a ticking time bomb. She does not have any control over when this little one is going to grace the world with his or her presence. First time mothers (like myself) have never been through this before so obviously as excited as we are to have and hold the baby at last there is also the aspect of sheer terror. Personally, I am petrified of all that comes before that blissful moment so no I don’t want to make light of when it’s going to happen – it’ll happen when it happens!


How different things were from how I thought they were supposed to be. 

I am not sure how it is for other expectant mothers but for me issues began during the “secrecy period.” What I’m referring to here is the time frame before 12 weeks in which you do not typically announce your pregnancy because things are still fairly touch and go. This time period was absolutely horrid for me as basically anything that could’ve gone wrong to add stress to this time – did. I was faced with situations that lead to a whole lot of altercation and unnecessary nuisance. Many other things fell into place in just the incorrect way to lead to absolute misery for a few months. However, there is always a silver lining! These eye-opening “events” have actually become something I appreciate. I learned about resilience and the need to summon your inner strength and patience when you need it most.

Upon learning I was pregnant I spent a lot of time dreaming of what my child was going to be like (as I am sure most expectant women do). A big part of this was wondering if I was having a boy or a girl. I looked forward to the time of sharing this news and announcing the gender in some cutesy “Pinterest inspired way.” However, due to familial requests it was decided that the gender of the baby would be kept a secret or to not inquire about it at all. I’m not superstitious nor do I believe in the ill will of others so this was something I felt I was deprived of. I don’t like having an inflated sense of self-importance so I didn’t see the big deal in sharing the gender with others. The lesson in all of this is that it does not matter what preconceived notions you have about how you will deal with your pregnancy in respect to others, when the situation arises for compromise – sometimes it’s easier to just go with it!


The surprises involved with the medical/physical aspect of pregnancy. 

The number one physical struggle I dealt with was accepting all the weight gain that comes along with carrying a child. I have always been fairly petite so people’s free for all comments about my rapidly expanding waist line was probably the biggest struggle. Once I hit my third trimester looking down at the scale and seeing such a huge number hit me like a ton of bricks. It seemed people were amused at seeing me look so different from what they were used to. If only I could’ve been as intrigued by it as well instead I allowed it to make me feel insecure and unattractive. This is something I wish I had a better perspective on as it is silly to fret about numbers on a scale when those are directly translated to the health of your child.

As if bodily changes weren’t enough my skin decided to regress back to it’s preteen state which yes was also brought to my attention as if I was somehow at fault. As my hormones calmed down from their spikes and falls so did my skin troubles so at least I won’t be looking like a teen mom anymore. Another major unexpected physical aspect to pregnancy is how the farther along you are (and bigger you get) – the more you can literally feel your bones shifting and separating. I feel like Humpty Dumpty and need somebody to put me together again!

Lastly, although this seems like a rather small physical change in the grand scheme of pregnant life – it was rather difficult for me to deal with the fact that you’re a human pin pricking cushion for 9 months. With all the blood tests and injections I have actually (kinda sorta) overcome my fear of needles.


The surprising amount a pregnant woman can worry about just about anything and everything.

My number one issue in this category is stressing about work. I don’t have a 9-5 I have a 24/7 as I work within a family business. So I feel super nervous about leaving everything up in the air not knowing if my duties and responsibilities are going to be adequately handled. Not to mention it’s been increasingly difficult to even keep up with things in the state I’m in now. I know I won’t be able to jump right back into things too quickly after having the baby regardless of my desire to do so. Letting go of my need to control is definitely a major lesson learned which I have not quite mastered yet.

Another culturally related factor – I feel rather nervous about is the imminent loss of privacy and changes with boundaries. At times I feel rather apprehensive about how life is going to change once the baby arrives. I am currently used to it mostly just being my husband and I. But in the Indian world once a little one comes into the picture your marital partnership becomes more of a group circle. I suppose it’s all about finding a healthy and comfortable balance of knowing when to accept help and when to do things your own way.


How over 9 months your perception, expectations, and experiences change drastically.

The moment I learned I was pregnant I was filled with this overwhelming sense of love, strength, and protectiveness toward this teeny tiny little individual growing inside of me. Then, rather quickly, out went the rainbows and butterflies and this warm fuzzy feeling turned into a general feeling of shitty-ness ALL THE TIME. Naturally, I became more focused on the physical aspect of things. Then came the kicks and movement. There are no words for this experience. It is like the ground shifts from underneath you and things suddenly become very real. Other then that the second trimester is rather uneventful. You nearly feel like yourself again. Winding down to the end the third trimester involves big changes in emotions, physical pain, and discomfort. I was not prepared for pain to come so much before labour. However, I have to admit it is pretty unreal how a woman’s body just instinctively knows what it needs to do to adjust to all the changes of carrying a child and to prepare for their arrival into the world!


The way in which your relationship will change and grow along the way as well.

The biggest change out of all this is how much my husband and I have grown closer which I did not even think was possible after 10 years together. He’s been my rock and without him there’s no way I could be handling everything this experience has entailed. He talks me out of my crazy moments. He encourages me and reminds me what this is all about. He tells me I’m beautiful countless times a day despite my changed body and demeanor. He picks up the slack with housework and dotes on my every request. He’s just been simply amazing and I feel 100% confident in beginning my journey of motherhood with him by my side.

So I know this wasn’t exactly a typical “pregnancy story” post but I felt like I had to share the good, the bad, and the ugly if I wanted to be completely brutally honest – which is how I try to keep all my writing! I am sure with all of the major changes just around the corner a lot of this will become irrelevant and I will be learning a whole new batch of life lessons which will leave me changed once again!

Settling to Lose Yourself

It seems as though there is a tendency for some women to lose themselves in a relationship. What I mean by this is to be an individual who goes from having idealistic dreams about their futures to eventually lowering their expectations and standards when it comes to choosing a husband. This probably has to do to with societal norms hovering over ones head. Not to mention the more concrete nagging form of familial pressure to settle down and get married just about as soon as you finish blowing out the last candle on your 25th birthday cake. You begin to feel like a ticking time bomb as at every family function you are reminded that you have not yet found “Mr. Right.” So you just snatch up whoever and say “you’ll do” and secretly vow to mould them into whatever closest version of the man of your dreams you’ve been envisioning since you were a little girl (thanks Disney).

In East-Indian culture women are meant to stay far away from their male counterparts during their childhood and teenage years. Parents try their very best to delay “the dating years” until it is for the purpose of marriage – and usually even then after about five dates you’re expected to have your mind made up either way. So now we are deprived of truly getting to know what type of individual we would be compatible with, and we do not have the opportunity to even become comfortable with being around the opposite sex. Unless you spend your time sneaking around in private in which you are not really truly engaging in a open and honest relationship.

So, what does all of this do to us when we are all grown up and ready to “settle down?” Well, I believe it sets the stage for disappointment and you may end up in a situation in which you’re left wondering how in the world your life became a certain way. In my personal situation, I was raised in a very westernized family and had a completely naïve view of what married life was going to be. I hadn’t factored in the possibility of joining a family instead of just marrying someone and riding off blissfully into the sunset of a happy married life with one another. So there I found myself as an extension of someone else’s life, struggling to fit in while still remaining my own person. This can be a tricky and challenging time in life, especially since I decided to not pursue a career in my field of study (boy were my parents ever so pleased with that!) and decided to join the pursuit of my partner’s dream and help him build his business.

Luckily, I have an office job, and one of my “passions” just so happens to be writing, so I realized that I could still hold on to my  identity and keep my own aspirations whilst helping him reach his goals as well. Writing has been such a positive outlet for me and the feedback I receive has been truly encouraging. I am sure this tendency for women to find themselves rudely awakened from their dream-like hopes of adulthood will slowly change as generations pass. Surely I would raise my child to be confident, comfortable, and most importantly realistic in their search for “Prince Charming.” Maybe one day “happily ever after” will not be such a far stretch after all.

However, the real “take home message” here is to never rely on another individual to be the ultimate provider of your happiness. Always keep in mind that by having something which is just your own will allow for an escape from a less than optimal situation you may find yourself in. There is no need to place the keys to your happiness in someone else’s hands, you can make your own future complete. You can still have comfort while not feeling like you’ve settled, you can still be in charge of your own destiny.

The Children of a Male-Dominated Culture

Today I saw something unnerving. Something that made me uncomfortable to the point of where I wanted to intervene but I just could not gain the courage to do so. After all, this is Surrey, and no matter what your intentions are, you never quite know what reaction you will receive.

I was in the parking of a local supermarket when I saw a toddler in the seat of a grocery cart wide-eyed and afraid as he watched his father roughly pull back his mother by her shirt and then aggressively moving her by her waist. This action flung her away from their vehicle, interrupting her while she was buckling their infant daughter into her car-seat.

On the way home I thought of all the things I should have said. I wondered if the man was aware that his son was watching his every move. His impressionable and innocent little mind was absorbing his mannerisms while taking in his seemingly misplaced anger. He was being influenced by the scene playing out before him. I wondered how many times this little boy had been a silent witness to this type of situation before.

I thought of the even younger child whom the mother was tending to when she was so rudely and aggressively halted. I thought of how she felt knowing her mother was being berated for failing to care for her quick enough. She supposedly “failed” at performing a task which she probably engages in several times a day – the tedious but crucially important task of buckling up your most prized possession. I wondered how the father would feel if one day his daughter grew up to be treated by a man in this same regard.

My next line of thought was about his physical appearance. He was a Sikh man. I deducted such to be true based on the turban he wore upon his head and his distinguished long beard. This was his mark of being Sikh. However, his behaviour was that of  a male who operates under the presumption that his wife and children are subordinates to his dominant self.

In the moment before we drove away I saw the embarrassment and a sliver of annoyance flicker in the woman’s eyes. I remembered what it felt like to be a child witnessing the occasional instance when one of the men in my own family lost their patience with their wives, daughters, or sisters.

Although this single brief interaction I witnessed was not enough to undoubtedly conclude that this man was physically abusive towards his wife, it was enough to receive the message that he thought himself to have the right to act in such an aggressive and belittling manner. It was evident that he believed it was acceptable for him to literally fling his wife in any which way he desired, in the presence of small impressionable eyes.

What is this male dominant mentality which runs through the historical veins of my culture? How much of it contributes to the issues that our youth face today? — Who were once those small confused and scared children aware that what they were watching was wrong but not old enough to speak on it. Is it safe to assume that this then becomes a endless cycle of poor values learnt by example?

No matter how forward-thinking we may think we are, surely some of us have grown up amongst frequent exhibits of this type of behaviour and were at some point subconsciously influenced by it. Most likely, the majority of us did not even question it to be anything out of the norm until we reached a certain age of knowing better. This is a generalization and surely there are many Indian men who do not act in such a manner. However, it is most definitely common enough to be something which seems to be a main aspect of Indian culture.

Last but most certainly not least: What does it really mean to wear a Turban? Do these individuals realize that when they are  wearing it they are a walking representation of Sikhism.It is not a fashion statement nor should it be worn out of obligation. It should be proudly displayed as a symbol of ones faith. It is meant to serve as a solidification that the individual agrees with the tenets by which the Gurus who wore them before us lived their lives in accordance with. If one is exhibiting small-minded behaviour and emotional immaturity, he should not bring himself into this world of such a prestigious class of people. These individuals should not only re-think their physical image, but question their inner moral fibre as well.

Readers, if you were to see something like this around you – how do you suppose it make you feel? Would you intervene? Would the ethnicity of the individual acting poorly have an effect on your willingness to act? Do you agree with my beliefs of the pre-requisites of wearing a turban? Feel free to comment below with your opinion about these unfortunate and all too common occurrences.

Saving the Past, Present, and Future of Punjab

Not too long ago the word Punjabi conjured images of a hardworking and determined person of integrity. These are the tenets upon which our generations past have built and solidified their futures. Somewhere along the lines, these characteristics were lost. Perhaps it was the result of the oblivious and all too forgiving nature of Indian parents towards their offspring. Or perhaps it was a more gradual subtle change in the psyche of Punjabi youth. The end result is that of a dying culture. A culture once so rich and proud – is now being likened to that of impoverished and drug stricken slums inhabiting an ethnic group in danger of extinction.

Regardless of the cause of this social epidemic, the solution is clear. We must unite together to save our youth. This may be easier said than done. However, the initial step to solving any social crisis is always to spread the word. Communicate, discuss, and deliberate what can be done to steer Punjabis around the world into the right direction. If those in our motherland have lost their way, what will become of those of us spread so wide and far from our roots?

We must return to the source, and bring back to life the religion and culture that brought us to the place we are at today. There are many people from Punjab who have reached admirable levels of success abroad. However, those youngsters pining at the dream of emigrating from India are killing any chance of a future they may have – in India or elsewhere.

They are doing so by turning to serious hard-core drugs such as heroin and other extremely harmful substances. Although there is a line between cultural norms and religious guidance we must keep in mind that this is not what is in our “dharm” (duty) and most definitely not what our Gurus envisioned for us as a people. The Sikh people are meant to be lifelong scholars on a quest for higher enlightenment while spreading goodwill along the way. Instead, we have somehow stooped so low as to become the ones we are meant to be providing aid to. What has become of our people? This is a serious issue that could have catastrophic effects if not attended to immediately. This is not just a social issue of India. It is an issue for humanity. It is the issue of every Indo-Canadian who cares about carrying their lineage forward. One should never expect to excel forward, if they forget to look back from where they have risen. We must aid those who have lost their way back to the true “Gursikhi” way. We must ensure the prevention of anymore individuals falling by the wayside.

Only a few short years ago Punjab was a prideful gem of India. Now – the downfall of not only the economy of this state but its social stature is shocking and undeniable. According to several Indian news outlets billions of dollars are involved in the drug trade annually – in this region alone. For nearly a decade, the frequency of drug use amongst Punjabi youth in India has increased dramatically. All the while the numbers of youth graduating from post-secondary institutions have been dwindling. A 2011 study conducted on drug use and alcoholism in Punjab revealed that 1.5 to 2 million of youth ages 15-25 are in the devastating cycle of drug abuse. These numbers are staggering and hard to conceptualize. However, we must not turn a blind eye to this. This issue has become so prevalent and threatening that several Western media outlets have reported on this growing battle. The Washington Post Newspaper wrote an article about premature death amongst Punjabi males leaving several hundred women widowed in certain villages. If Punjab’s current vulnerable state has caught global attention – it should also ignite our inner desire to do something about this as well.

The answer is clear – we must return to inhibiting the qualities that make us unique from any other cultural group. We must apply those characteristics from which we are historically differentiated to become something we can all be proud of once again. The manner in which this can be achieved is by promoting the importance of education. Naturally, if the youth are occupied in an educational system, to which they feel they belong on every level of their being – mind, body, and spirit, they will be salvaged. There will be no room in their hearts or desires for any mind altering substances. Their psyches will be fulfilled and equipped with knowledge to succeed in life.

There have been certain credible individuals taking initiative in India to aid in solving this problem. However, they cannot do so without our support. A particular example of a possible sanctuary for impressionable youth in which all they require can be provided is The Akal Academy of India. Their previous locations have had great successes in transforming lives. The new campus which is currently under construction will essentially be an academic community which would be the perfect vessel for keeping our youth off the streets and away from chasing dangerous highs. It is currently under construction in a Northern part of Punjab and being a part of the development of this post-secondary institute is one of the many things which need to be done as an antidote to this disease plaguing the villages of Punjab. Please promote awareness of this issue. Please save our roots and futures from destruction.

To read The Washington Post Newspaper article visit:

To learn more about drug use in Punjab visit:’s_Punjab_24092013171919.pdf

To learn more about Akal Academy visit: